Why there are two main political parties in the U.S.?

Why there are two main political parties in the U.S.?

The majority of news today revolves around politics and there are always two political parties mentioned and these are usually the Republican and Democratic parties, but they have not always been the ones with the most popularity, nor has their ideologies remained the same since their founding.

American political parties have changed over time, for example, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the two major parties right now, but before the Republican Party were the popular ones, before they were the major ones the Democratic Party and the Whig Party were the ones dominating American politics and before that, the Democratic Party and National Republican Party were the major parties. Before they were the major ones the Democratic and National Republican Parties were the major ones, then before them the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists were the most popular ones.

This isn’t to say that there have only ever been two major parties that reign supreme for periods of time, because there are more parties out there but there have always been two parties that dominate American politics, due to the way that the American voting system is set up.

Two parties dominating a political system consistently is called the “Two Party System” and it is used in the United States. The two party system is created mainly by the popularity of the party among other things and if two parties mainly dominate the country then it would make it hard for third parties to have a chance or to even participate in the elections.

The U.S. political system is set up in a “winner-takes-all” method which means that it awards seats in Congress and presidency to whoever wins the elections.

Another thing that makes it difficult for third parties is the ballot. Legislatures can determine who is qualified to be on the ballot. Republican and Democrat controlled legislatures used this knowledge to hold back rising third parties like the Populist Party, and gave themselves automatic lines on the ballot while implementing very high petitioning requirements to hinder any other parties. 

Along with this is also the funding of campaigns and overall support of the people. United States citizens only have one vote and they would not waste it on a party with no chance of winning.

The founding fathers did not intend to create different political parties. The reason being was that they had seen the fighting in politics in Europe and they did not want to recreate that.

“Let me now . . . warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party …” quote George Washington in his Farewell Address. “It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeebles the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption . . . A fire not to quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into flame . . .”

Although these were their initial thoughts, they could not come to agreements on things and eventually different political factions were made, each representing how they believed America should be run.